Mercedes-Benz Design

The smart brand was once in Malaysia, around 20 years ago, when DaimlerChrysler Malaysia (now Mercedes-Benz Malaysia) marketed it, but it was poorly received. Though its small size – which could only take two – was appreciated in European cities, it was too small for Malaysians who could get more seats and more space – for less money.

So smart faded away from the market and a decade later, declining sales in other markets also saw Mercedes-Benz, which owned the company, rethink its strategy for the brand. With the auto industry rushing towards electrification, it was logical for smart to also go in that direction. In fact, it had already started electrification earlier but needed a new generation of models developed from scratch as electric vehicles (EVs).

This led the German carmaker to team up with the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in a new joint venture company which would use the smart brand, which still retained its trendiness. It looked like a smart (no pun intended) move as Mercedes-Benz would offer the design expertise while Geely would provide its Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) modular platform engineered specifically for EVs. Thus smart gained a ‘second wind’ and has been quick to roll out its first product, the smart #1.


A year after beginning a new model era with the smart #1, smart has now released preliminary design details of its next model, a SUV coupe which will be called smart #3. Like the smart #1, this new model has also been designed by Mercedes-Benz Design, the German carmaker being a partner in the company together with Geely.

To be displayed at Auto Shanghai 2023 next month, the smart #3 (hashtag 3) has another interpretation of the brand’s visual identity, this one being even sportier. The exterior form is defined by athletic curves and shaped by organically connected lines like the smart #1.



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